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“Presence of Mind Needed” via the Association of Japanese Institutes of Strategic Studies (AJISS)-Commentary

What we most need now is the presence of mind to deal with the current crisis. Back in World War II, Winston Churchill was quoted as saying in a speech that the maxim of the British people is “Business as usual.” For the Japanese, who are undergoing a moment of truth, nothing is more appropriate than this message of Churchill’s.

The earthquake that struck off the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region just past 2:42 p.m. on March 11 had an enormous magnitude of 9.0. The quake not only devastated buildings, roads, an airport and the rail system, but also triggered a tsunami that engulfed people with an intensity that went well beyond the estimate of Tohoku residents along the Pacific coast, who historically have experienced numerous tsunamis. At the time of writing, more than 15,000 people are dead or missing – a number that surpasses the death toll of the Kobe-Awaji Earthquake, which took the lives of 6,000 people 17 years ago, and that of the Isewan Typhoon, which killed more than 5,000 people 62 years ago.

“Presence of Mind Needed”

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